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FrRevol_351-400.indd 17 3/16/12 1:09 PM CHAPTER XVIII Ofthe Situation ofthe Friends ofLiberty Out ofFrance During the Reign ofTerror. It is difficult to relate the events of these horrible times without recalling one's own impressions in almost their original vivacity: and I know not why one should combat this natural inclination. For the best manner of representing such extraordinary circumstances is to show in what state they placed individuals in the midst of the universal tempest. Emigration during the Reign of Terror was no longer a political measure . People escaped from France to save themselves from the scaffold, and no one could have remained there without exposing oneselfto death in order to avoid ruin. The friends of liberty were more detested by the Jacobins than even the aristocrats, because they had been engaged in a closer struggle with one another, and because the Jacobins feared the constitutionalists , whom they believed to be still in possession ofa very considerable influence over the mind of the nation. These friends of liberty found themselves, therefore, almost without a place ofrefuge upon earth. The pure royalists did not violate their principles in fighting with foreign armies against their country; but the constitutionalists could not adopt such a resolution: they were proscribed by France and viewed with an evil eye by the ancient governments of Europe, who knew little of them but from the recitals of the French aristocrats, their most furious enemies. I concealed in my house, in the Pays de Vaud,1 some friends ofliberty respectable in every way, both for their rank and for their virtues; and as a regular permission to authorize their residence could not then be obtained from the Swiss authorities, they bore Swedish names, which M. de 1. At Copper, in Switzerland. FrRevol_351-400.indd 18 3/16/12 1:09 PM PART III Stael assigned them that he might have the pleasure ofyielding them protection . Scaffolds were erected for them on the frontier of their native country, and persecutions of every kind awaited them in foreign lands. Thus the monks of the order of La Trappe found themselves detained in an island in the middle of a river which separates Prussia from Russia: each of the two countries rejected them as if tainted with a pestilence; and yet no reproach could be alleged against them, except that they were faithful to their vows. One particular circumstance may be of use in depicting this epoch of 1793, when perils were multiplied at every step. A young French gentleman , M. Achille du Chayla, nephew of the Count de Jaucourt, wished to escape from France under a Swiss passport which we had sent him; for we thought ourselves quite at liberty to deceive tyranny. At Marez, a frontier town situated at the foot of Mount Jura, suspicions were entertained that M. du Chayla was not what his passport pretended, and he was arrested with a declaration that he must remain a prisoner till the lieutenant of the district of Nyon should attest that he was a Swiss. M. de Jaucourt was then staying in my house, under one ofthose Swedish names ofwhich we were the inventors. At the news ofhis nephew's arrest, his despair was extreme; for the young man, at that time an object of pursuit, the bearer of a false passport, and, besides, son to one of the chiefs of the army of Conde, would have been instantly shot had his name been discovered. There remained only one hope; it was to prevail upon M. Reverdil, lieutenant-bailiffofthe district ofNyon, to claim M. du Chayla as in reality a native of the Pays de Vaud. I went to M. Reverdil to ask this favor of him: he was an old friend of my parents, and one of the most enlightened and most respectable men in French Switzerland.* He at first refused, opposing to me the most weighty motives; he was scrupulous ofdeviating from truth for any object whatsoever, and besides, as a magistrate, he was fearful ofcompromising his country by an act of falsehood. "If the truth is discovered," said he, * M. Reverdil was chosen to preside over the education of the King of Denmark. He wrote, during his residence in the North, very interesting memoirs of the events of which he was a witness. T hese memoirs have not yet appeared. 368 FrRevol_351-400.indd 19 3/16/12 1:09 PM cHAPTER X vI I I . Friends ofLiberty During Reign...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781614878636
Related ISBN
9780865977327
MARC Record
OCLC
836874520
Pages
834
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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